Thursday, September 6, 2012


If you are planning to come to Hope at Home 2012 but haven't gotten around to registering (you know who you are!), how about doing it now?! To find out the details and to register, click HERE.
We are praying for you even now, and are full of anticipation to meet you, to enjoy getting to know you, and to trust God together for His Good Purposes to manifest in each of our homes.

First I'll tell you the post I was going to write. I was going to write a post describing the three or four things I would do differently if I were adopting again. I thought it was a good idea, and I may still do it at some point. But, my idea has morphed out of my control, so I've decided to go with the flow! 

The Hijacking of a Post

So, it started when I was thinking about what I would say in this post of mine about what I would do differently. Then Stephen and I went to see the movie, "The Odd Life of Timothy Green," and that is where my idea was side-tracked. (I won't retell the movie, and hopefully I won't ruin it for you if you haven't seen it yet.) In the movie the young couple is explaining in an adoption interview that they realize they had made some mistakes with their son. They said they definitely would not do those same mistakes again. I thought that was neat-- it was what I was thinking about writing! So I was really paying attention to see what they were going to say. It was a sweet and funny moment in the movie. They said, no they would not make the same ones again-- they had learned their lesson-- they would make different mistakes instead! I loved the humility and the self-knowledge of the couple as they intuitively knew that no matter how hard they tried, mistakes would be made along the way.

Parenting Jesus Out of a Job?

It got me thinking about parenting, and about how those of us who are passionately intentional in this role can so easily take on more than God has actually asked of us. Do you ever get the feeling when you read parenting books, or read blogs like this one, or talk with friends or go to adoption conferences.... that if you could "do it just right," then your child would "turn out just right?" It's almost like we get the feeling (not that we would ever actually think it!!) that if we could make all the right parenting decisions--
know when to be firm and when to be gentle, when to give a consequence and when to just give a hug, when to say yes and when to say no, what tone of voice to use, whether the behavior is adoption-related or personality-driven, or plain old selfishness..... and on and on and on!--
that if we could do it all just right then maaaaybeeeee we could actually parent Jesus right out of job. You know what I mean? That if we got it right as parents then our children would be so whole and well-behaved and wise etc., that really, they wouldn't need to know the rescue, redemption and salvation in Jesus that you and I have made our life's breath. 
Now that, my fellow parents, is not a role I want! 

My Co-laboring Role

I am all about good parenting. I love the God-given role of a parent. We have a place of authority and power in our child's life, not doubt. A place of significance. A co-laboring role with Father God Himself! Our desire at Hope at Home is "to help adoptive and foster parents encounter the Father's heart for their families, partnering with God to transform orphans into Sons and Daughters." We are pretty into the idea that parents are God's agents of change in their families! 

But I am aware that without meaning to, many of us walk around with, or even communicate, a guilt, a sense of failure and feelings of powerlessness as parents. How can we ever measure up to all the amazing godly parenting advice and philosophies out there?! I'll tell you right now that Stephen and I cannot. Even on the issue of attachment alone I get overwhelmed with all I should have, could have, would have done if...... 
And really, even if I did do it all right (insert "sigh"!), my faith and hope is not and can never be in my good parenting. The only one worthy of the weight of my faith and the expectation of my hope is Jesus.

I think what I want to communicate here is that I believe there is a freedom for you and me, the freedom to make mistakes and to "do it wrong." When I think back on the call to adopt I realize God did not include in that call a command to produce a certain kind of child. He just said to love them as sons and daughters in our family. We believe firmly that God's plans for our children are good-- that freedom in Him is their inheritance. But Stephen and I have a co-laboring role in these plans. We are not our child's savior. Ours is not a sovereign role, it is a co-laboring role.

His Burden is Light

No matter how well I parent, my good parenting will never be the saving agent for my child. It won't be, simply because it was never designed to be. Only the blood of Jesus! God is not now, nor has He ever been, reliant on my perfect parenting to do what only He can do. 

Beloved parent, I want to leave you with this word, spoken by One whose voice is full of compassion, understanding and love for you,

For My yoke is wholesome (useful, good—not harsh, hard, sharp, or pressing, but comfortable, gracious, and pleasant), and My burden is light and easy to be borne.
Matthew 11:30

Would you pray this prayer with me?

Oh Father God, even now I choose to take off the heavy yoke of being a perfect parent producing perfect children. Lord, I set my primary goal as a parent to be Your beloved Child, for I know that the closer I am to You, the better parent I will be for my child. Lord, I look to you for (your child's name) _______________'s salvation and healing and freedom. My faith and hope are in You alone. How faithful and good you are! Amen. 

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  1. Thank You Beth!!! I have felt so responsible for making my kids "turn out Right" and blaming myself for all the mistakes I've make (and still make) in parenting my 2 boys. I like the idea of co-laboring with Jesus! AMEN!!!

  2. I know! It is so easy to take on burdens and blame that are not ours. I think we put a lot of stress on ourselves, maybe even more so in the Christian community. One thing I know, God always leads us into more freedom! bless you, and thanks so much for leaving a comment!